Name: Kristen Reid
Job title: Founder and head designer, Lore Collective
From: Mississauga, Ont.
Currently lives in: Halifax
Education: BA in English, Dalhousie University; the now-defunct Parsons x Teen Vogue Fashion Industry Essentials program
First job out of school: Founding Lore Collective
Tapping into your creativity is rarely a straight line, something Kristen Reid knows well. As a high school student, Reid suffered from anxiety—just leaving her house was a struggle. “All I wanted to do was design,” she says of her hobby of drawing clothing designs. When the time came to figure out her post-secondary education, Reid decided to pursue something quieter than fashion and enrolled in English at Dalhousie University. The change of scenery from her hometown of Mississauga, Ont., did her good, but her field of study didn’t quite fit. “English was just me hiding behind a book,” she admits. “I was trying to convince myself I wanted something quieter.”
When a friend launched a student-run club called the Vaudeville Student Fashion Design Show, something clicked for Reid. She made pieces for the show that became so popular she had trouble keeping up with demand. Reid decided to launch a label, naming it Lore after what brought her to Halifax—the study of literature. “For me, it means how I started and how I came to be. It stems from my love of reading and writing.”
In 2017, Lore made its runway debut at Atlantic Fashion Week in Halifax. From there, Reid was invited to take part in a collective showcase with five other fashion brands in Paris. The opportunity to present her line at the world’s fashion capital led to connections around the globe, including one with Reid’s mentor, Domi Perek, editor-in-chief of Mess Magazine and a producer at Condé Nast International. The two have yet to meet in person, but they speak every day. “She’s taught me so much about the industry,” says Reid.
Reid says that it’s critical that everyone involved in Lore, an environmentally and ethically conscious luxury brand, is treated with respect, has proper working conditions and is fairly compensated. While sourcing a manufacturer, Reid came across many who did not meet her standards. “My stomach would drop because they clearly just didn’t care,” she says.
One of the most rewarding aspects of creating her own fashion brand is seeing her designs come to life on her models. Reid herself modelled throughout her childhood and says that she always checks in with her models to make sure they feel comfortable in their work. “I’ve definitely had modelling gigs where I was not comfortable, and nobody asked me.”
And while Halifax may seem like an unlikely base for a growing fashion brand with a global following, Reid says that she has zero interest in leaving. “People who have their own businesses shouldn’t feel the pressure to move to bigger cities,” she says. “My job is creative and I feel like I thrive here.”